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Making fashion into an art form

February 8, 2019

Two of EIT’s most passionate fashion design graduates are back this year to pass on their skills to other aspiring clothing designers.

Marlana “Lane” Nepe and Aisling “Ash”  McKenzie have agreed to take this year’s Level 5 Diploma in Fashion Design programme while tutor Sarah Elliott is on maternity leave.

They will be working alongside Lynette Field, who has extensive experience in the fashion industry and also specialises in sustainable practice.

It was an easy choice for Lane and Ash, as both are keen to share their passion for sustainable fashion – up-cycling op shop finds into up-to-date designs. After years of mastering the art of sewing and design, the pair have an in-depth knowledge of how garments are constructed, from an abstract concept to a well-finished piece that can be worn with pride.

They will be teaching students all of these skills, from sketching their designs and making custom-sized pattern pieces for them, to construction and finishing of their models.

By the end of the one-year programme, they are confident students will be able to mount their own fashion show.

Students are free to opt for new fabrics, although their own preference is usually to start with recycled clothes, which are often made from superior fabrics.

“People are becoming more environmentally aware,” says Ash.

Many are wanting to opt out of the cheap, almost disposable  clothing trend and create their own fashion statements.

Marlana believes dressmaking is making a comeback in Gisborne because it is a much cheaper option and personalises your own clothing.

The pair were planning to open their own boutique, specialising in up-cycled and plus-sized clothing, but put their plans on hold for a year when the opportunity arose to share their skills with others.

Meanwhile they have already notched up a few professional development courses in preparation for the new role.

“We are really excited about it all and have a rally diverse range of students coming on so will really be able to bounce off each other’s ideas,” said Ash.

Further down the track they may also be offering evening classes in Gisborne and at one or two of EIT’s regional learning centres.